Archive for October, 2010

Still life project in homage to Irving Penn

I’ve been avidly collecting discarded cigarette packets over the last couple of weeks. Crawling about on the floor, carefully lifting the items off the street has not been a good look but luckily for me the streets of London are littered with them. I’ve collected packets in various states of distress and have come across some excellent examples. Some of the packets I have never seen before. Who’s heard of Manchester or Diana cigarettes ? I’ve also noted that many of the packets come from abroad which is probably a reflection of the cost of smoking in the UK.

I remember seeing a wonderful exhibition of cigarette butt images by Irving Penn. Large in scale, the images were very impressive and obviously memorable. My images were taken with Penn’s in mind. I find something strangely beautiful about discarded, used, and decaying objects, and wanted to show this in the images. I love the colors, the designs, and the decay. Simply beautiful. I also admire the pop art movement and these photos fit this genre.

I went for maximum quality and shot with the Hasselblad H4D 60, HC 120mm and a Profoto ringflash. The images will be able to be printed to a huge size and I’m looking foward to getting a couple printed.

Here are a selection of images. Enjoy and remember that smoking seriously damages your health.

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Creating a Blurb book with new software

Blurb have just made book publishing much easier by introducing new software called Bookify. I have just managed to create my summer holiday book in just two evenings ! Amazingly simple to use and hopefully the quality will be of the usual excellence.
Here’s a widget of the new book. It’s a lovely reminder of a wonderful holiday.

Getting your images to look professional with Photoshop

Here’s a quick tip for photoshop. I’ve wondered how professional photographers and retouchers get that hard edged, graphic look in the photographs that they produce. One of the ways they do it is so simple.
Open your file in photoshop. Do a duplicate layer and call it background copy. Go to Image adjustments and desaturate. Then go to windows layer and overlay the two images. You can set the opacity between 50-100%. Whatever you think works best. To save your image, go to save as and turn the file into a jpeg rather than a psd file. And voila ! That’s all !!
Here are a couple of examples that hopefully show the effect.


Original image without any photoshop.

The same image altered in Photoshop.


Original image, slightly adjusted in photoshop.

Altered in photoshop, with opacity at 80%.

You should give it a go. It works well if used correctly.

Alexandra Park

Off on my wanderings around Alexandra Park again !! I’m really enjoying this project, especially as the weather is changing rapidly. Summer is well and truly over and the autumnal colour is starting to come to the fore. It’s interesting visiting the same area time and time again. Observing the landscape constantly evolving and changing even within a couple of weeks.
I’ve decided to publish the book early next year and have taken the radical step of not featuring any people in the images. The park is usually very busy but I want to convey the feeling that the park is exclusively mine. To show the space without distraction. I hope I succeed.

Here are a few more images from my recent shoots. They were all taken on the Hasselblad H4D 50 using the HC 120mm and the HC 35-90mm.

I hope you enjoyed them and feel free to comment.

Falling in love with Pembrokeshire…again !

I haven’t posted much on my blog recently. This was due to work commitments and also because of a wonderful holiday in marvelous Pembrokeshire, Wales. We actually had a two week holiday for a change and didn’t I need it.
The more time I spend in this wonderful part of the world, the more I don’t want to leave. It has just about everything. Fantastic beaches, rugged coast, serene countryside and a warm welcome. It’s a photographers dream and I’m gradually building up a nice body of work. I’m going to publish a ” blurb ” book soon but I want to visit the area, out of season. It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like when it’s cold, freezing and hopefully snowy. It does help that I’ve visited when it’s been warm ! Certainly for trips to the beach.
Here are a few images from this wonderful landscape.


Broad Haven South


Bosherton Lily Ponds


Pwll Dewi


Sunset at Druidstone


The coastal path, Strumble Head


Marloes Sands beach

In the new Hasselblad Studio

I had a lot of fun last week in the new Hasselblad Studio, which is based in Hoxton, London. Hoxton is a great area to have a studio. The area is full of life and has a wonderfully artistic feel. It helps that the White Cube gallery is nearby and Hoxton Square is crammed with restaurants and pubs. The studio has everything that a photographer needs for a shoot and is backed by the leading photographic suppliers including Profoto, Broncolor, Eizo, Epson, Wacom, OnOne Software, Sandisk and The Printspace. Full details of the studio can be found at http://www.hasselbladstudio.com
The event was a Hands on a Hasselblad Day and details of future events can be found at http://www.handsonahasselblad.com
The events are well worth going to and allow you to have a full play with all the latest equipment and best of all, it’s absolutely free !
Here are three of the images I took of the model, Zoe, who was excellent again. She had to work so hard but was faultless in the way she dealt with the many photographers that attended.
I used the Hasselblad H4D 60 with a HC 120mm. An excellent combo !